Fitness update & HK’s best veggie/vegan restaurants (Vegan Char Sui??) :O

What a beautiful sunny week it’s been in Hong Kong!

I am now only 10 days away from completing the 8 week fitness challenge and I wanted to continue to write a short update on the second half as well as the lead up to the final fitness tests. I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by!

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Week 5 started off great. I was feeling healthy and active and continued to build strength and endurance, I was on cloud 9! It wasn’t until week 6 that I had suddenly felt like I had been hit with a tonne of bricks. My joints ached, my muscles were tight and I felt fatigued. I no longer had the energy I had built up over the last 5 weeks and even though I was eating the same foods and exercising the same amount, I just felt tired. Just as I started to feel panicky and frustrated, the fitness challenge nutritionist, Lisa Tarquini from Eat Move Glow , sent the email below and suddenly I realised I needed to take a couple days rest, fuel my body and reset.. which is exactly what I did :)

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As well as cutting down my exercise, this week was filled with friends and family birthdays and surprise engagement parties which meant quite a few naughty days. By the end of the week, I was bloated yet satisfied!

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After my glorious 2 days of rest and eating my heart out, I have started week 7 with determination and gratitude. I am pushing through the burn and loving every second of it. Today was the first 6am spin class where I didn’t feel out of breath and for me, that is a milestone!

 

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  • If you’re feeling hungry, It’s probably your body asking to be nourished. Don’t obsess over calories and do not go to bed hungry after a workout.
  • I have noticed in the past couple of weeks that slight glimpses of borderline obsession have peaked it’s ugly head. I have started to feel GUILTY that I’m only exercising for an hour a day…which after a chat with a colleague, I realised how ridiculous that is. Each day, for that hour, I am giving it my all, whether it’s spinning, attempting to increase my body pump weights, HIT training, Bootcamp or Strongman training, I am trying my best to push that little bit extra each session. So, why do I feel that unless I exercise 2 hours a day, I am unfit?
    I have taken part in an 8 week challenge to improve my fitness, raise money for Bali Kids and make a lifestyle change, not to obsess. I am now in a routine where I no longer dread exercise, it is just a part of my day which comes and goes. I was constantly comparing myself to my fitness level 2 years ago where I could do an hour of Grit Strength, an hour of cardio and an hour hike and feel absolutely fine. It is important to keep reminding myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Day by day I am getting fitter and stronger, whilst actually enjoying myself. That’s most important.
  • Take the time to relax and treat yourself. Take Epson salt baths, book massages, yoga classes..anything to make your body feel looked after.

 

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I set myself the below goals for the final week:-

– Fit in more yoga sessions as I LOVE this practice.

– Loose at least a kilo

-Do one of HK’s many beautiful hikes

– Stop snacking on pita chips and make some filling snacks like protein balls!

-Don’t look at Week 8 as the end of a challenge but the end of the beginning. I fully intend on keeping my routine change as my new lifestyle.

-Raise more donations for the Bali Kids cause. If you’re interested in supporting this amazing cause, please donate to HERE!

Now moving on to something just as important to me…. FOOD! Over the last couple of weeks, I have been on the hunt for vegan friendly restaurants around Hong Kong as there is only so much I can take of having to pester waiters every time I dine out. I had heard of these 2 restaurants online and not meaning to sound over the top in the slights but THEY HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE!!!

The first was newly opened HOME – Eat to Live. Not only does this place sport beautiful and cosy interior but, the menu had me more excited than the time Back Street Boys were rumoured to be touring Asia.

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I ordered a custom flatbread with olives, falafel, roasted red onion, spinach, classic alioli and roasted garlic hummus and a side of sweet potato fries. I am not sure what I was expecting a flatbread to look like, but a wrap was not it. No complaints here though, the food was delicious!!

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A meal deal came with your flatbread of choice, a side, a healthy version of lemonade, your choice of sauces and small bar of raw dairy free chocolate.

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The flatbread was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, flaky and grilled… oh my days, get me back there.

And now, for the best bit of the meal and one of the best dessert ever to grace my tongue, THE RAW HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SLICE. Hand crafted by angels, constructed by kings and queens and sprinkled with fairy dust. This was heavenly. Nutty, chocolatey, rich in flavour and so addictive.

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Now for the restaurant that I decided to drag my boyfriend along to last night, which genuinely nearly wanted me to cry happy tears. The Loving Hut is one of 200 worldwide 100% vegan restaurants. Being Vegan and dining out at Chinese restaurants is pretty much a no-go so you can imagine my happiness when I found out this place did VEGAN CHAR SUI BAO (life changing). Funnily enough, I had been craving them earlier this week…must’ve been The Law of Attraction hey?

Although this place was far from fancy, it was warm and friendly and everything you need it to be.

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We ordered the char sui bao (bbq ‘pork’ dumplings) and the veggie dumplings to start. They were everything I had dreamed of and more.

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For the mains we ordered the Char Sui with vermicelli noodles and a noodle laksa. The mock meat char sui looked and tasted so similar! It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a tasty BBQ glaze. Next time I’m back, this will be the first thing I order. (Hello boyfriend, can we go this weekend, please?!)

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Lastly, we shared a Tiramisu. It didn’t exactly taste like tiramisu (needed some alcohol!) but was still enjoyable.

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The loving hut offers food ranging from vegan pizza and french fries to Ramen and fried rice. If you’re veggie or vegan, or just enjoy veggie foods, you MUST try this place out. I can guarantee you it will not disappoint.

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Have a great week and I hope your days are as happy as I am with my ‘pork’ bun :)

 

 

 

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The hardest thing about being Vegan.

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It has been nearly 2 months now since I have been 100% vegan. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and it truly feels like my mind has been opened up tenfold. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel I’ve had to give up much compared to the amount I have gained. However, the hardest things about going vegan may surprise you:

DEALING WITH OTHER PEOPLE…….

Prepare to be the topic of many dining conversations – Whether you like it or not, the fact that you eat plants, will be discussed and dissected and made fun of. It’ll be hard at times when all you really want to do is enjoy the meal in front of you instead of constantly being reminded that you’re the outcast in these situations.

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People will constantly ask where you get your protein from – When I first turned Vegan, my mum was worried that I would develop a protein deficiency. I would explain to her that there was such a wide range of vegetarian protein sources but, still she was wary. After a while, I started to doubt whether I was getting enough protein so I decided to download MyFitnessPal and track my macros for a week to see. To my surprise, I wasn’t only reaching my protein goals for the day, I was exceeding them. I was also consuming more protein than I was when I was consuming meat.

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You will feel down at times – Once you have educated yourself on what goes on in the meat and dairy industry, and I mean what REALLY goes on, you will have a hard time trying to accept that some people are happier not knowing or seeing the truth while others, just don’t care. You can’t make everyone watch slaughterhouse and dairy farm footage, read countless studies or research on the link with the meat industry and causes of climate change, species extinction, ocean dead zones, deforestation, world hunger and so on. And lastly, people often find change hard, which I can totally relate to. It took me 26 years of eating meat and dairy to change and Culture; History; Conformity; it’s what we are used to, so why would we change so easily?

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Everyone you know is suddenly a nutrition expert – Listen to your body, not to anyone else.

You will get defensive because you actually give a shit about something other than the Kardashians and premier league results.

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You will have to read every package label! You will have to avoid foods you never thought would include any animal byproducts. Who knew that Guinness contained fish bladder in its brew? Marshmallows contained gelatine? and raspberry-flavoured sweets contained the anal glands of a beaver? Not I.

People will think you’re trying to be morally superior when all you’re trying to do is make this lifestyle work for you and others who have expressed interest. I’m not out there to force anyone or try to turn my friends and family into strict vegans. I’m not saying you deserve to burn in hell because you eat meat nor am I trying to shove facts down people’s throats. I am no better than you because I live a certain way, I am just expressing myself and my experiences. If you can post countless LadBible articles and football rants, leave me to post adorable pictures of micro pigs and hummus recipes.

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You may be told how to live your life – You will be told by ‘famous’ Vegan Youtubers such as Freelee and durianrider that drinking coffee isn’t vegan (even with substituting with soy or almond milk) because it is an addiction, you will be told that you shouldn’t have children because of world hunger or eat cooked food before 4pm. You will be told to live your life a certain way, but don’t buy into the bullshit. It is your life and you should live it like you please, vegan or not. As long as it’s good for you and your body.

Even though, there are many hardships to endure, when becoming vegan, there are many more gains!

This is me and this is what I believe, if you don’t like seeing it, unfollow, unsubscribe, unfriend. It’s that simple. I am not going to change for no one :)

 

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FIGHTING FAT TO FIT FOR BALI KIDS

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For the first time in my life I have started to notice small changes in my health and the way I feel. I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept well through the night and not woken up without feeling like a groggy knackered mess, but since becoming vegan and cutting out dairy, my digestion, sleep and energy levels have improved remarkably.

One thing that hasn’t magically improved is my weight. After coming back from the UK where I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle of constant boozing, takeaways and lack of sleep, I came back to Hong Kong with my hormones all over the place and 14 kilos heavier (cheers dominos you delicious bastard!). Whilst I am eating the healthiest I ever eaten with a plethora of fruit and veg, I have also not been limiting my processed carbs, vegan junk food and have not been feeling motivated to exercise.

When a friend mentioned an 8 week fitness challenge for charity, I jumped at the opportunity. I needed something out of routine and the norm to push me to live the healthiest life I can live and improve my fitness and hopefully reach (if not exceed) the level of fitness I had 2 years ago. And if I can’t motivate myself, I know raising money for Bali Kids will.

 

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The Angels Fitness Challenge was set up by a HK based non profit organisation, Angels for Orphans , whose aim is to provide funding to improve children’s lives worldwide. All proceeds will be donated to Bali Kids who provide health and medical care. Bali kids are kick starting a new Anti-Smoking Education Program as currently, children in Indonesia do not receive any education on smoking and it is one of the biggest killers. This is something that is very close to my heart as my late father smoked for a large portion of his life and when diagnosed with skin cancer the majority of tumours were found in his lungs. A doctor I am not, but I have always wondered if things could’ve been different if there had been no smoking. It is incredibly sad to think that there are a large number of children as young as four who are hooked on cigarettes and do not know the dangers of this awful habit.

This challenge will last 8 weeks and will include 53 participants from all over Hong Kong. We have been split into teams and I will be proudly competing with my Discovery Bay ladies to win most improved fitness as a group as well as some individual categories. I will be exercising every day for the next 8 weeks, decreasing my intake of processed foods, giving up alcohol and hopefully gaining some muscle! This is something that is going to challenge my mind ever more so than my body and I would be so grateful for your support and enthusiasm!

 

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If you’d like to donate, please click here. Any donation big or small will be greatly appreciated.

 

Today was introduction day where we met the brains behind Angels Fitness Challenge 2016 as well as top HK nutritionist Lisa Tarquini and were put through our first fitness test! We were tested on planks, wall sits, push ups and had our weight, BMI, measurements and fat percentage measured.

 

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and tomorrow THE CHALLENGE IS ON! Wish me luck :)
now for one last glass of champers…

 

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If you’re interested in following my journey, add me on snapchat @katydayhk and Instagram: @maiden_hk for regular updates.

 

Have a lovely week ahead!

 

Carnivore approved Black Bean and Chickpea Burgers! #Vegan

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For the first few weeks into my 30 day vegan challenge, I had this intense feeling of FOMO when it came to letting go of the usual dishes I have grown up with and burgers were one of them. At first, I found it rather hard having to give up my usual junk food treats such as pizza, burgers and desserts, but I soon realised that you can make a vegan alternative to nearly EVERY single dish.

So here’s my take on an easy, cheap, simple, healthier version of a burger:

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 INGREDIENTS

Vegan chickpea and black bean burgers (6 servings)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) chickpeas
  • 1 tin (425 grams) blackbeans
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp himalayan salt (or regular table salt if needed)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

(If you don’t have any of the above seasonings, just add whatever seasonings you fancy!)

1. Blend 1 cup of oats in a blender until it reaches a flour consistency.

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2. Add your garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and olive oil and mix.
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3. Rinse your chickpeas and black beans.
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4. Mix beans with the oat flour and mash together. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry or add a little flour if too wet)
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5. Roll into balls and flatten and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, cook in frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil until the surface is browning and crispy.
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And don’t forget the oven roasted rosemary chippies!
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6. Create your burger! I added half an avocado, red onion and ketchup to my burger bap.
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7. Enjoy your burger! Enjoy it even more because no animals were harmed for your tastebuds and your digestive system will thank you :)
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5 minutes that changed my life.

Happy Easter, friends!

If you’re sick of hearing about my transition to Vegan then I would simply close the tab pronto.

If you read my blog from time to time, you would have seen that I took part in 30 days of Vegan where I cut out all meat, dairy and any animal by-products. Whilst it is something I feel very strongly about and continue to document, I too can remember a point where I would constantly roll my eyes at certain vegan Facebook friends who never stopped posting about animal rights. I found them annoying and inappropriate, but after completing 30 days and involving myself within vegan communities, I found myself turning into that very person I use to find irritating.

I found these people irritating because it was easier than facing the facts, it was easier to not feel guilt over my pizza binges, my love of a good burger and be blindingly ignorant. Ignorance REALLY is bliss. To think thousands of animals have been slaughtered for my taste buds during my lifetime, died at my expense for what? For 10 minutes of satisfaction? Now, I am fully aware that my strong opinions will annoy individuals, I may even loose friendships over my choices, but at the end of the day, I feel that this route is for me and if I can open at least one persons eyes to this cruelty free, healthy, environmentally friendly way of life, I feel that my job on this earth is done.

So. I officially completed 30 days of Vegan last week and what did I do? I had a 4 day cheese BINGE. I dug a cheese filled hole full of pizza’s, mac and cheese’s, mozzarella panini’s and cooked and ate half a block of hulloumi for the sake of it. What made me do it? I have no idea. I congratulated myself and convinced myself that if I have a little bit of cheese here and there it won’t be that bad, at least an animal won’t die…right? I was then recommended to watch a 5 minute video and from there, my eyes were well and truly opened and my life forever changed. I can now confidently and happily call myself Vegan and will never consume dairy again.

If you’d like to know the truth behind the dairy industry, please click on the link below.

Now back to the weekend….I feel like I haven’t stopped moving and have had such a great, much needed weekend with family and friends.

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SATURDAY & SUNDAY – We woke up early and decided to stay at my boyfriends mum’s house in Sai Kung whilst she was away on holiday. We took the dogs to the beach where I had never seen them happier and then on to Classified for some lunch.

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I ordered the Pomegranate & Mango smoothie which included pomegranate kernels, mango, spinach, organic raw cacao and flax seed. It was delicious! Their menu had a variety of 12 different smoothie mixes which is great to see.

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I then ordered the dish that started off my cheese binge! Mac’n’Cheese.

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We spent the next two days relaxing in the sun, going for walks and watching our dogs run riot in the garden.

MONDAY: The following day, I woke up and devoured a oats bowl full of peanut butter, blueberries, oats, cinnamon and coconut shavings.

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Despite my extreme fatigue from consuming all that cheese, my boyfriend dragged me on a mini hike to Mui Wo with one of our friends. Of course we had to stop off at our favourite restaurant, The China Beach Club.

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TUESDAY: Today I caught up with a friend over some Mexican food. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find any Vegan options, but how silly was I! Mexican is one of the easily adaptable cuisines when it’s a staple consist of corn tortillas, avocado, salsa, black beans, jalapeños and rice etc. This tortilla bowl salad was THE ONE!

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I also tried passionfruit for the first time and oh my days, why did no one ever tell me about the watermelon + passionfruit combo!!

What did you get up to over the Easter holidays?

 

OH MY GOD. BEING VEGAN IS SO HARD.

A couple days ago, whilst attempting to make plans with a friend, he mentioned we could go to a restaurant ‘for vegetables’ due to my dietary needs. It just got me thinking how HARD it is being Vegan, just having to eat vegetables all day. I mean, I could go as far as saying it is probably one of the HARDEST things I’ve EVER done.

I mean it is just so HARD eating pancakes with agave nectar and blueberries.

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Soy based Coffee ice-cream milkshake? YUCK YUCK YUCK. 

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I mean Samosa’s….. EWWW

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Moo-free Chocolate covered strawberries??? THAT IS SO WRONG. 

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Salads with  colourful and nutritious veg? I CANT EVEN.

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Oatmeal cookies…NO NO NO.

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Smashed avocado toast with paprika… AVOCADO IS THE DEVIL.

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Curries with vegetable pakora? HELL NAW.

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Even chips with curry sauce….. GROSE.

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Veggie burgers with onion rings, avocado and bbq sauce… VOMCANO. 

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PASTA’S….Garlic pasta in white wine sauce and olive oil… THAT’S JUST NUTS.

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Red wine with Oreo’s… WHAT IN GODS NAME!

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Cold pressed fruit and veggie juices…ERGH.

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Sweet potato and hummus? THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND NOW. 

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Massaman curry and spring rolls? THIS IS MADNESS.

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That doesn’t even cover all the awful nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and grains like rice and couscous, risottos. Don’t even get my started on those vile fruits like mangos, watermelons, berries and vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin, peppers eggplant.

Being Vegan is just too damn hard.

Have a good week ya’ll!

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A week of firsts – Weddings, vegan pizza and Maid Of Honor surprise!

My first week of adapting to the vegan lifestyle has flown by. It hasn’t been a week of feeling deprived and unsatisfied, like I had originally nervously anticipated. After the first 4 days, I started noticing so many changes within myself and my body. Even though it has only been a week, my energy levels have slightly improved, my brain fog has lessened and my junk food cravings have started to diminish. The he majority of what I’m eating are carbs but I do find myself filling my plates with a variety of fruit, veg and legumes instead of breads, pastas and vegan junk food. I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy mindset and look at food as fuel, rather than a treat and whether I end up feeling the best I ever have or I end up piling on loads of weight, and I’m excited to see where this may take me.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this vegan pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker and just had to try it! Paired with a Greek salad (without feta), I recreated this pizza for a midweek treat. Being the pizza fanatic that I am, I was once again pleasantly surprised with the alternative options vegans have these days.

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Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:

Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion. 

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Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.

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Passion green juice @ Mana

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My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula

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Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai! 

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This week was definately a week of firsts. My best friend has asked me to be her Maid Of Honor for her wedding! She seems to think that I would’ve already expected it, but, since she has friends from all over the world, it was such a lovely surprise to open the box below! Not only is the wedding located near her birth town, it is also an area which I hold close to my heart and where my god mother resides and have spent many amazing summers with my family. Bring on the best wedding ever summer 2017 in beautiful Spain!

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Speaking of weddings, I attended my first ever wedding last night which was such a good time. It was held at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui and the setting was beautiful.

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The menu was a 10 course, meat filled, Chinese set menu which unfortunately meant I ended up only eating a few pieces of veg which resulted in my massive hangover today! I have to admit that I did drunkenly consume a few pieces of chocolate which WASN’T vegan. I was starving and intoxicated, but in my eyes, slip ups are always part of every new process. I am someone who feels strongly about the corruption of animals and will try my best to limit all consumption of all animal based products, but, I can’t say on my life, that I will never taste an ice-cream or  piece of cheese ever again. I can only hope and try my best.

Since being inspired to turn vegetarian months ago and now vegan, I’ve noticed that within the vegan community, with some individuals, the focus is being drifted away from the welfare of our beautiful ecosystem and inhumane treatment of animals and on to whether or not you’re sticking to all the 100% strict vegan rules and restrictions. I have seen numerous YouTube vegan activists attempting to publicly shame fellow vegans for accidentally eating something that had contained honey in it. It seems that there are many vegan public figures that believe you should not or cannot ever fail. To me, there should be compassion for both humans and animals and people in no way, shape or form should attempt ‘out vegan’ you.
I understand that the majority of vegans are out there to promote a healthy lifestyle, but, how on earth has coffee been banned by the community? For goodness sake, if you feel like you want a coffee (using soy or almond milk, of course) then have that coffee and do not like anyone tell you otherwise! No animals have been harmed for that coffee so bloody enjoy it!
BUT ANYWAYS, If you’re interested in checking out some lovely, ordinary vegan YouTube channels, you must check these guys out:-
Thats just about enough posting about food. Wishing you a great upcoming week!

Vegan No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies! (healthier version)

 

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4 ingredients + all Vegan friendly + no oven required = HEAVEN. 

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Ingredients: (makes 8 cookies)

  • 1 cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 40 grams of Vegan chocolate
  • 1 1/2 bananas

Let’s begin!

  1. Mash the banana using a fork. (If your bananas aren’t ripe, throw them in the microwave like I did, for a minute until soft)

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2. Add a cup of oats, one tbsp of peanut butter, your cut chunks of your vegan/dairy free chocolate and mix!

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3. Once mixed, pick a handful of the mixture and roll into a palm sized ball but flattening into a cookie shape

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4. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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5. Enjoy!

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30 days of Vegan.

I can no longer stand sifting through my Facebook feed and being presented with crying calfs, skinned dogs and red raw chicken being pumped with hormones. I can no longer BARE to justify buying into these industries when I know the horrible truth and torture these beautiful animals have to endure just to satisfy my taste buds. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that the truth of our meat and dairy industry is finally out there for all to see and it is becoming harder for people to put their blinkers on and play ignorance. But like I have said in my previous blogs, I absolutely love and worship animals and truly think that they are the greatest gift to this earth.

After transitioning from full on meat eater to pescetarian, over the last few weeks living purely on a vegetarian diet, I thought I would attempt to go the full circle and give up all animal products in the hopes that my overall health improves. I have done plenty of research on the nutritional benefits of the vegan diet as well as the deficiencies which can seriously deplete your health, but I guess if I don’t try, I will never know. These days there seems to be scientific evidence backing up every diet, fad or lifestyle, claiming to be the ‘healthiest’ and foods which go from being a cancer causing to a food you are recommended to consume daily. I am a strong believer that everyones body is different and one lifestyle may work for one and not the other, so over the next 30 days I will document my transition (why is it that every time I write transition I automatically envision Caitlin Jenner?) The good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s hoping I finally find a healthy lifestyle that agrees with me!

The beginning…

For breakfast, I started the day with a vegan protein smoothie bowl with spirulina, chia seeds, Rawnola, oats and peanut butter. These bowls are so easy to make and spending those extra two minutes to make it look pretty really makes me feel more grateful for the food I’m eating.

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My boyfriend and I have a wedding next weekend so we decided to head to Tsing Sha Tsui to  do a spot of shopping as well as check out this restaurant I’ve been reading about for a while.

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(Riding the Star Ferry NEVER gets boring.)

Woodlands is located in Wing On Plaza in TST and offers vegetarian (and vegan friendly) Indian food. My boyfriend and I are huge fans of indian food and I was extremely excited to try it!

 

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We shared the South Indian Thali platter which was a full course meal with plain rice and three purees and two chapatis. Two Bajis of the day, Sambar and Rasam. It was full of many flavours and surprisingly felt quite light. We then ordered the veggie samosa’s which were by far, without a doubt, the best samosa’s I have ever had!!! A thinner pastry than usual with extra filling. My boyfriend then ended his meal with an Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun which were deep fried milk balls soaked in syrup.

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After a long day of walking around TST and Mong Kok, we headed back home to catch up on the netflix series, Making A Murderer. For those who haven’t seen it, you must get on it! It may be the most gripping yet frustrating documentary series I have seen yet. My boyfriend and I have this unhealthy habit where we MUST purchase snacks for every film or series we’re following. SO, we picked up our favourite red, The Chocolate Block and a packet of Oreo’s (Oreo’s are vegan! Can you believe it?!)

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Today was not a healthy day at all and I now know more than ever that even though something may be vegan, It sure as hell doesn’t mean it is healthy. It is very easy to devour a pack of oreo’s just because you feel like you are deprived and want to satisfy your cravings. It requires a lot of effort to produce nutritious, balanced plant based meals which do not lack in protein, good carbs and fats.

After this binge fest, I started to feel really really strange. The headaches started to pop their ugly heads followed by a gradual decline in my mood. By the time it was early evening, I started to feel depressed for no apparent reason. I noticed I had a very short temper for the first few days as well as problems with digestion (I was burping every 5 minutes). My craving for cheese has been the strongest it’s ever been and I have been extremely fatigued.

For dinner, I decided to get over my fear of vegetable versions of meat (Quorn is the devil) and try making a veggie bacon and avocado sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised with how similar the ‘bacon’ smelt and tasted.

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I’m now 3 days in and I feel worse than I did before. Lets hope this cleansing/detoxing period doesn’t last long because I’m not sure how much longer I can feel like an irritable, achy zombie.

Wish me luck!

P.s – If you have any tips or product suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. Thanks

 

CNY holidays -My first veggie burger & our fur babies first trip to Sai Kung.

The week before CNY I managed to catch a flu virus which was going round my workplace. I can’t remember the last time I have felt this ill from the flu and spent around a week in bed with minimal interaction with the outside world. By the time it got to the holidays, I was desperate to be able to talk to someone other than my two dogs and determined not to waste anymore time indoors, despite feeling horrendous.

On Saturday, a friend invited me to try out an aerial yoga class in Discovery Bay. This was my second time doing aerial yoga and after getting over the initial laughing fits from watching my friend struggle to move her long limbs whilst upside down, I remembered how fun this type of yoga was. It’s not often you get to stretch your body out whilst swinging from material.

After yoga, we were invited on one of our friends boats for the day. The weather was beautiful, sunny yet cool, just like a good English summers day. Unfortunately, the seas were a little too rough for my liking and not wanting to ruin everyone else’s time with my panic ridden face and gasps, we cut the boat trip short and headed for a bite to eat.

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My boyfriend and I were both craving some Mexican so we headed to our local Mexican chain, Carumba. We started with some jalapeño poppers, (which were definitely worthy of the #foodporn tag!) Nachos Simpatico, accompanied by a green apple mojito.

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The next day we decided to visit my boyfriends mum who resides in Sai Kung. I absolutely LOVE Sai Kung and hope to one day live there myself. The only downside is that it literally couldn’t be any further from where we live, which means, enduring an hours taxi with our two furry little vomit buckets. Much to our luck, we had forgotten some vomit catching bags which resulted in me instinctively catching it in my hands (who does that!?) The rest of the journey was far from pleasant as you can imagine….

We arrived late morning to a fresh fruit breakfast of mango, grapes, blueberries and pomegranate.  Luckily my boyfriends mum always has an array of fresh fruit at the ready which can be a godsend after some greasy Mexican the night before. It’s crazy to me to think I only tried mango around 6 months ago and now I can’t get enough!

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This was the dogs first trip to their grandmas home and they loved every minute of it. They spent most of the day running round the garden and it was so lovely to see. It was nice not having to keep an eye on them at every second whilst outdoors.

We then wandered down to the beach to let them run wild some more. It was so refreshing to have the sun shining down and my feet in the ocean after these winter months.

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After we tired the fur babies out, we headed into Sai Kung town for a drink and a snack. On the way, we passed a couple selling roasted chestnuts and sweet potato. After living in Hong Kong for over 20 years, it was almost embarrassing that I had never tried roasted chestnuts so I had to grab myself a bag. They tasted nothing like I had thought and the texture definitely needed some getting used to.

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We walked along the pier to our favourite hidden snack joint for some egg puffs. These little balls of batter are delicious and will always remind me of my teenage years hanging around Causeway Bay. This place is extremely popular and specialises in bubble tea. I’ve yet to try bubble tea, but will get my hands on some next time I visit.

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With a day well spent, we said our goodbyes headed back home. We finished off the day with yet another bad decision and gobbled up some more greasy food. However, I have to say Mcsorleys do an amazing veggie burger!! With it being my first time trying a veggie burger, I can honestly say I was expecting to hate it, but it tasted so similar to a beef burger AND didn’t make me feel ill after. #winning!

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Veggie patty, red onion, swiss cheese, avocado, bbq sauce and mayo.

Now it’s time to ditch the deep fried foods and finally get over this virus!

 

 

 

10 OF MY KITCHEN MUST-HAVES!

Happy Tuesday! ( doesn’t it always feel like just a second Monday?) Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. This post is going to be dedicated to all those foodies who may suffer from intolerances/allergies or just want ‘healthier’ options. I say healthier in quotation marks as some of the below products may not be the most wholesome of foods when comparing them to 100% organic, GMO free, low glycemic, low fat, low carb blah blah blah. BUT, they are definitely some of the products my kitchen AND taste buds can’t live without. I feel that these products are great substitutes for when you’re craving junk foods and are helping me make better choices on the road to better health.

Okay, so lets get started.

  1. Lemon and cucumber water 

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I am completely obsessed with water infusions! I’m not one of those people who finds it hard drinking copious amounts of water, but water + fruit = heaven. Not only does lemon and cucumber water alkalize the body, which aids in your body functioning at its optimal level, but its also packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and silica making it an amazing immune system booster and a nice energy boost. It will also cleanse toxins as well as purify the liver and digestion (great for those party animals!)

2. CHOCOLATE!

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Okay, who doesn’t love chocolate? When I was living in London I developed this really unhealthy habit of HAVING to have something sweet after lunch and dinner to cleanse my palette so to say. This 72% dark chocolate bar is made of organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar and organic cocoa butter. It is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and is organic, wheat-free, gluten free, soya free, dairy free, nut free, low GI and all natural! It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron; a delightfully natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. BEAUT!

3. Himalayan salt

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Pink Himalayan salt boosts 84 naturally occurring minerals and is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago. The many benefits of Himalayan salt includes effective detoxification purposes, (and has been proven to be much more effective than white table salt versions) lowering your blood pressure, aids you in replenishing the loss of electrolytes, banishing sinus and respiratory conditions and improving the condition of your sleep. I use Himalayan salt when seasoning my food, but the two most uses for this salt for me is straight after incredibly sweaty exercise classes and for gargling a mixture of water and himalayan salt when I have a sore or phlegmy throat. It works wonders!

4. DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM 

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At first I was a little hesitant to try a dairy free ice cream, but after tasting it, you can see why this vegan ice-cream is stocked in numerous stores around Hong Kong. All Happy Cow ice creams are dairy free, soy free, gluten free and low glycemic. They have a coconut cream base and offer 25 flavours ranging from chocolate chilli to strawberry shortcake. These ice creams really are the SHIZZ.

5. HERBAL TEA 

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There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and settling down with a herbal tea. I use the wild apple and cinnamon with ginger when i’m craving something sweet, the warming camomile and spiced apple(camomile has a very calming effect on the body, allowing for a more restful sleep) before I go to sleep and the peppermint infusion for when my intolerances are acting up and I am sporting a sexy bloated stomach.

6. Brown rice pasta

Even though these pastas are still processed, they are however perfect for people with gluten and wheat intolerances. They are just as delicious as white or whole wheat pasta , however, the texture may need some getting used to. Brown rice pasta = happy tummy.

7. Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) 

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The ultimate probiotic. The grains in water kefir are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The healthy bacteria that feeds on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. It is suitable for vegans as it provides an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

8. Roasted chickpeas

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yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I do normally make my own roasted chickpeas, but when I’m short of time, I usually pick up some of these store bought bad boys! Chickpeas have become a regular in my diet since giving up poultry and they contain healthy protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some good flavour combinations for roasted chickpeas are cayenne pepper & Manuka honey, simple salt and pepper and cinnamon.

9. Soy sauce and apple cider vinegar 

Living in Asia, it can be a nightmare ordering Chinese food when soy sauce has a such a high gluten content. Everything is coated in the stuff. However, my local health food store has just started stocking gluten free soy sauce and this is music to my ears! This calls for some homemade fried rice and noodles.

Now Apple Cider Vinegar is my go to salad dressing. I could live off the stuff. Apple cider vinegar has many uses. It can help dissolve kidney stones, detoxify the body, relieve allergies and heartburn as well as help kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It wards off the flu, lowers cholesterol, soothes bug bites and clears skin. A good time all around.

10. Granola & Almond Milk – 

Anything But Salad’s Life Rawnola is Organic and includes dehydrated clusters of sprouted buckwheat groats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It is GF, a good source of protein and fibre as well as high levels of antioxidants. Paired with some almond milk, it makes an easy and nutritious breakfast.

What foods are your everyday go-to’s?

 

 

Engagments, Disney and Tacos.

SO! It was my best friends birthday yesterday and she got engaged!

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I’ve never had to keep a secret so big, for so long in my life and am thankful that I no longer have to! I have been in the know for a while and it was absolute agony to not be able to tell anyone something so exciting. They are perfect for one another, I am so incredibly happy for them and can’t wait for the wedding of the century in Spain next summer. 

As well as this SURPRISE engagement, her new fiancé organised a weekend of surprises for the birthday girl. Friday night we went to The Udderbelly Festival to see Russell Howard and it was absolutely brilliant!

 

However, there are always a group of utterly annoying men with their lame heckles and egotistical manners right? (It’s 2016…who still uses the ‘your mum’ comeback? 100 points to gryffindor you originality monsters! ) It was a shame that I had paid to see Russell Howard and instead had to listen to their pathetic attempts at humour for half the show. Despite this, it was fantastic! You know its going to be a good show when the support act has you in tears in the first 5 minutes.

Saturday morning we got up early (not by choice…but by our stage 5 clinger puppy, Jeff) and headed to Disneyland. The first mistake I made was doubting Hong Kong Observatory (when will I learn?!) AS IT WAS FREEZING. Despite the temperature dropping to 2 degrees, we put aside our expat need to always be warm and made the most of it. Luckily for us, due to the weather, the park was rather empty which meant FAST QUEUES :D

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I ended up filming parts of the day out which I’ve uploaded to my new youtube channel if you’d like to check out the link! DISNEYLAND HONG KONG .

Any Youtubers out there? I’m hoping to start vlogging soon but have no idea where to start?! My main mission is to document my explorations of Hong Kong as well as find the best vegetarian eats this city has to offer. I guess learning through trial and error will have to do!

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We went to dinner at one of my top 5 favourite restaurants in Hong Kong. I just can’t get enough of BRICKHOUSE! Located in a grafitti’ed alleyway in Lan Kwai Fong, it offers some of the best take on mexican food i’ve ever had.

We started with the usual guacamole and salsa dips, served with their stone ground chips. This is probably one of the only places in Hong Kong that gives you healthy portion of guac without an extra charge.

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and the DIABLA. The best cocktail i’ve ever had. Includes vodka, jalapeño, raspberries, pomegrante and lemon. Spicy but sweet…AHHHMAZING!

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We then ordered the Mexican-style street corn which is sweet corn dipped in a chilli, mayo, lime and cheese rub.

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and lastly, the FISH TACOS. Spicy Nemo – fish, cabbage, avocado and chipotle aioli

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Apparently they now do MEATLESS MONDAYS and offer 4 course menu for $430 Per 2 Persons. Will need to check that out asap.

On Sunday we ended the birthday weekend with The Watermark at Pier 7 for their Seafood brunch. I was feeling a little under the weather so didn’t really take any photos. It was a nice day and great company but it terms of the food, I think there are far better brunches in HK. I can’t say there was one dish that left me feeling content and I don’t think I’d visit it again. The staff looked rather miserable and almost annoyed when we kept ordering drinks from their FREEFLOW package.

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A couple days ago, I came across some Massaman curry paste and coconut milk and fancied making a vegetarian curry. I unexpectedly made a delicious meal out of food I needed to use up and will definitely try this recipe out again.

I started by pan frying some onions and garlic in olive oil and sprinkled some cumin seeds for taste. I then chucked in some potatoes, peas and lentils, added half a cup of hot water and left to boil for 5 minutes. I then added the massaman paste and 1 cup of coconut milk and let it simmer for 25 minutes. With the thai curry paste and indian curry spices it actually worked really well and paired with a roti – divine!

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A Foodies WORST Nightmare

All my life I have suffered with severe fatigue, bloatedness, lack of energy, headaches, joint pains, dizziness…you name it, I experience it on a daily basis. I can’t actually remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed with at least one or more of the symptoms above. After trying to live a healthier life, exercising regularly and educating myself on nutrition, I had hoped to see improvements. Frustratingly enough, after completing an intolerance test, my worst nightmare has peered it’s evil little head.  I’m going to have to be one of those Gluten Free, Dairy free assholes. 

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My report came back and I have a long list of Intolerance’s Ranging above 90%. Wheat, dairy, egg whites, soy, flaxseed, lentils, rye,  lettuce (who on earth is intolerant to five different types of LETTUCE?) green beans, sheep & cows milk. This concludes that I will no longer get to indulge in the food of gods…. cheese. Bread. No pizza, no chocolate, no eggs, no bakery items, only a small number of sauces, only a small number of meats as wheat flour or soy is literally in everything! #$%!^&!!! 

After cutting out all the above and spending countless minutes reading the ingredients of every single food item I laid my hands on, I started to feel great. I was sleeping well (apart from the occasional disturbances from my snorlax boyfriend), bursting with energy and wasn’t really experiencing any symptoms, bar anger and frustration. However, by day 5, my body was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and turning me into a complete and utter psycho. I felt angry at the world for no particular reason and I felt like I was truly craving processed crap like my life depended on it. Since then, I have had a large number of weak moments which have resulted in painful symptoms for the next 2-3 days.

After attempting to eliminating my intolerances for the second time, I have purchased Deliciously Ella’s book for some inspiration. Her book is filled with gorgeous looking recipes, full of colour, with a number of alternatives to your favourite junk food items. I would highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone interested in nutrition and clean eating. Although you’ll need a good trip (and pricey one at that) to your nearest WholeFoods or local organic shop, her recipes are all pretty simple! Check them out here, http://deliciouslyella.com 

Below I attempted her Sweet Potato Brownies –

Ingredients - sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, spelt flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.
Ingredients – sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, brown rice flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.

and an inspired version of her blueberry muffins…..

Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup
Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup

and for all you pancake lovers, who actually can consume egg (weehh) and you’re craving a full english on a sunday morning, try this healthier breakfast alternative my boyfriend & I created –

Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)
Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)

The road to giving up meat.

I’ve wanted to be vegetarian since as long as I can remember. There has been this little bothersome voice in my head reminding me of the hypocrisy I’ve been living everyday. How can I love animals so much when I spend every single day supporting their deaths by eating their flesh?  I’ve managed to find every excuse in the book for not turning vegetarian, from worrying about my protein intake (laughable when you see these two former meat loving bodybuilders turn Vegetarian – Youtube Link) to giving up my worlds biggest bacon lover title. After stumbling upon a number of slaughterhouses videos on Facebook and reading this one poem that stuck out to me like a sore thumb, I finally thought enough is enough, I can no longer justify hiding my eyes from all the lives I’ve taken for food consumption. I am not deserving or worthy of killing an innocent animal so why have I thought so for so long?

Before you start rolling your eyes at yet another animal loving, hippy living, meat bashing rant, realise that this is not one. I have spent 25 years eating meat and I will admit, Meat is delicious. Steak is delicious. Bacon is delicious. Fried chicken is delicious. I am a strong believer that everyone should have a choice…. but I’ve made mine and my choice should not affect anyone else around me. Throughout school, we are taught that everyone is different and to celebrate our differences. So why is when someone gives up meat, it is seen as a negative socially? Just a little plant-based food ;) for thought.

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It’s been around 3 months since I’ve cut out poultry and my current diet is 85% vegetarian, 15% pescetarian. I have noticed slight changes in my energy levels and health but I’m not going to lie,  I have also had a couple slip ups in that time! Once I’ve educated myself more on having a healthy plant based lifestyle choice, I will eliminate seafood. It has been a challenge at times and change won’t happen overnight, but any step towards veganism or vegetarianism to me, is a step in the right direction.

Now enough of the self evaluations! Here are some of my favourite HEALTHY pescetarian/vegetarian meals: (Not included, pictures of my nacho and pizza binges! oh fuck it, here’s a pic below)

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FOREVER DREAMING OF NACHOS AND JALAPENO POPPERS

Homemade Veggie Lasagna: 

Made with brown rice pasta sheets (Gf) and Eggplant as layers.

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Salmon on a mixed chilli bean salad with avocado, feta, jalapeños and spring onion. 

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Pulled Salmon (seasoned with Manuka honey and chilli powder) with Sweet Potato Wedges

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Salmon and Sweet potato cakes

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Gluten Free Fish Tacos

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Tomato Chickpea Curry

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Quorn Shepards Pie

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A salmon burger w/ avo, feta and caramelised onions and lemon roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato.

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Omelette 1: 3 egg chia seed omellete with crumbed feta, spinach, onion and pesto

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A Chickpeas, capsicum, spinach, cucumber, red onion, halloumi and crispy noodles with an apple cider vinegar dressing salad

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Omelette 2: chia seeds, 3 eggs (2 whole, 1 egg white) midget trees, tomato, red onion, olives, goats milk feta and a dash of cayenne pepper

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Quinoa, cayenne peppered salmon, brocolli and goats milk feta mashup salad

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Chilli cauliflower rice with cashews, raisins and chickpeas.

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If you want to know any of the recipes, shoot me a comment and i’ll direct the info your way :)

Going Pescetarian

For as long as I can remember,  I have always loved meat. Steak, burgers, nuggets..you name it, I crave it. There is no better taste than a juicy medium-well steak in my eyes and whilst I’m sat here salivating at the mouth, I have to remind myself that for a person who’s favourite things in the world are animals, why should I be so hyprocritial to indulge in them? I wouldn’t gobble up my boyfriend (even when he’s spent too long on FIFA) so why should I have the right to eat the things I love. Why should I support such an inhumane industry when I want to spend my life trying to protect and stand up for these beautiful creatures? For others, it will not seem hypocritical but for me, it is something that questions my entire being and values. With that being said, I have not and will never judge anyone for the dietary choices they choose to make.

I’m a strong believer in taking things step-by-step and not going full speed ahead. Starting today, I will be cutting out all meat except for fish, eggs and cheese in the hopes of eventually in years to come, cutting those out too. A couple months back I decided to cut out all meat and experienced more side effects than I anticipating. The first few days consisted of gruelling headaches and extreme fatigue whilst my body was detoxing and getting rid of all toxins, chemicals, antibiotics, added hormones, feed additives, flavor enhancers, age-delaying gases and salt-water solutions found in meat. I felt ill and very very weak. This time around I will be educating myself on the right protein sources and making sure I am consuming a healthy, balanced diet. Luckily, in London, meat substitutes and vegan/vegetarian restaurants are extremely popular and readily available.

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My #vege sheperds pie 💛 #Quorn with onion, garlic, stock & spices with a half potato & sweet potato with almond milk topping

I can’t guarantee I won’t slip off the bandwagon and at times and I may even treat myself to a birthday burger next month (25 years old.. scary stuff!) but no journey is complete without a few hiccups.

But to me, no taste will be worth an animals life. Simple as. 

In the process of bettering my health, I like to occasionally rummage through my favourite London store in Bayswater, Planet Organic. It’s incredibly sad but roaming round this organic haven, attempting to find healthier substituted products is just my ultimate de-stresser. Below are some of my favourites.

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Instead of white/wholemeal bread. Try Biona’s organic Rye Bread – Amaranth & Quinoa – Goes amazingly well with avocado and cheese!  Biona’s organic crunchy peanut butter is also great as it includes no added salt, sugar or palm oil and is vegetarian, vegan, gluten and diary free for those with allergies and intolerances.

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As I’m allergic to caffeine, Rooibos (Red Bush) is perfect for a little sweet pick me up after lunch. Rooibos originates from South Africa and boosts so many health benefits. It contains powerful antioxidants, has a high mineral content, aids iron absorption, relieves stomach and skin complaints and aids a restful sleep. After dinner, I also like to treat myself to a square or two of Green & Black’s organic 70% dark chocolate. It does the trick without splurging on a chocolate bar. 

As I start my quest to implement a healthier, balanced life, any pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan recipes recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

Onwards and upwards!

K